Ecology

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Ecology is the study of interactions between organisms (biotic part) and their nonliving environment (abiotic factors)

Biotic factors includes plants, animals, fungi, & microorganisms. They may be producers, consumers, or decomposers.

Abiotic factors include climate, soil, temperature, water, air, sunlight, humidity, pH, and atmospheric gases.

Habitat is the place a plant or animal lives, while its niche is its total way of life.

Life is organized into levels:

Organism (any single living thing)

            Population (members of the same species living in one place)

 

                    Community (all the populations living in an area)

 

        Ecosystem (community living in a similar habitat such as a forest)

 

Biomes (ecosystems covering wide areas & with similar climates & organisms)

Biosphere ( all the living & nonliving things on earth)

Producers:

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Make their own food through photosynthesis or chemosynthesis

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Includes plants, algal protists, & some bacteria

Consumers:

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Can't make their own food

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May be herbivores (feed only on plants), carnivores (feed only on animals), or omnivores (feed on plants & animals)

Decomposers:

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Break down dead plants & animals (detritus)

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Recycle nutrients

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Called detritivores

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Include fungi & bacteria

Sunlight is the ultimate energy for all life on earth, but only producers can get their energy directly from the sun.

Energyflowinecosystemimage

Trophic levels are feeding levels of producers & consumers in an ecosystem:

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1st Trophic Level is producers that use sunlight directly

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2nd Trophic Level includes herbivores that feed directly on plants

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Higher Trophic Levels are carnivores feeding on each other

energypyramid

Food chains & food webs:

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Chains show who eats whom in an ecosystem.

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Webs are made up of several food chains.

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Always begin with producers absorbing sunlight.

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Producers store energy in the chemical bonds of the food they make.

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